Monday, February 28, 2011

Chasing the Sunset Home

Today begged for a bike ride. And Copper begged to go for a run. But then again, the bike shop needed me too.  Everyone was happy by the end of the day. 

To kill multiple birds with one stone, I unearthed the Burley Tail Wagon and decided to pull Copper D. Dog to the bike shop behind my Vaya for the first time this year.  The fact that the roads are mostly snow free is a glorious realization for both Copper and myself.  I had a bunch of dog guilt this winter as I pedaled into the shop on my winter single speed with studded tires, sans Copp.  She hated me for it and looks forward to the spring.  This morning as I was readying myself for the ride down Copper watched me as usual.  The sad part is that she's gotten used to watching me leave with out her.  So, as you may imagine, when I asked her if she wanted to ride bikes with me she raced outside as fast as her 4 little legs could carry her.  I was getting her trailer out and she jumped into it before it was even attached to my bike!

She was ready!!
 I was overjoyed at the sight; for a moment I had feared that she would be anti-wagon like she was when I first introduced the idea to her about a year ago.  It originally took a lot of coercing with treats to warm her up to the idea of jumping into the trailer by herself; there were plenty of days of me having to grab her and shove her in and close the cover before she started realizing it was a good idea.

She was so excited to be part of the trip that she didn't want to get out of the Burley for me to hook it up; so, being the sucker for her that I am, I just let her sit in it while I attached it to the Vaya.

Attached at last.

Off we rode!  I wasn't in a huge time crunch to get to the shop so we meandered along taking a little different route than usual.  There is a lot of construction going on on Center Street these days so we ducked off of it at 49th and climed up towards Pine.  I forgot how damn heavy my dog is!!  It's a good thing that I rode all winter through and thought about how much worse it would have been pulling her around if I hadn't.  I didn't feel very strong climbing up the hills today but was absolutely glad that I had my little furry friend along for the ride.  We talked to a few laughing pedestrians along the way and I made my usual comment about how it would be much more enjoyable if I could get Copper to pull me.  Chuckles all around.  We pulled up to the shop and got to work.

Our ride home was wonderful. The weather was wonderful and we caught the tail end of a beautiful sunset. I pulled over on Woolworth and tried to capture what remained of the pink stained sky. My photography skills, as usual, leave a little something to be desired but you get the idea.

Looking West on Woolworth toward 42nd

 Good layering for the ride.  T-shirt + light weight wool jersey + windbreaker + Grovecraft hat + swrve pants = happy rider.

Tomorrow is supposed to be a beaut.  I think Jolene and I may be riding around 4pm if anyone is interested.  Mayhaps out to Ponca?  Too nice not to get out for a bit.

Good day again!!

Who else is riding?  Also, who else is planning to sprint the night away on Thursday for Greenstreet's One Year B-day Party at Nomad (1013 Jones St.)?  It promises to be a fine time.  There will be b-day cake, prizes including a freaking bicycle!!, beer specials, and more.  I'll be there with a microphone harassing people to particpate.  See you there!!!


Thursday, February 24, 2011

Holy Headwind Batman!

Flag's a blowin'
Apparently I was still stuck in yesterday's temperature zone when I planned my layers for the ride in this morning.  I wore my wwr swrve pants (or course), long sleeve base layer and then wool jersey, fleece vest, and light weight soft shell.  Sounded like plenty to me!  But the wind blew through me anyway.  I didn't have heavy enough gloves (I think my heavier mitts are still in the Frostbike vehicle...) and I fumbled with numb fingers pulling my camera out of my bag to document this flag that was blowing straight out and into my face.  The entire ride was into the wind.  Which was actually kind of fun.  You know the days when you get on your bike and it really doesn't matter what you run into, you're just thrilled to be pedaling?  Today was that day for me.  Even though I couldn't find my charger for my light (which turns out was at the shop! hooray!), kept thinking about all of what's on my plate for the day at work, and got blown around like a feather in a tornado, I smiled all the way down to the shop. 

We're carrying a Greenstreet Blend coffee at the shop as of Tuesday.  It's locally roasted by The Grey Plume, organic, fair trade, and darn tasty.  I thought about drinking a hearty cup of this fresh brew as I got ready to ride this morning and realized that I was out of cream at the shop!  So, first stop: Hy-Vee by my house to pick up a few goodies. 1/2 and 1/2, carrots, hummus, and an avocado made the cut and I hopped back on my Vaya and headed East.  Before I was actually back on my bike though, I was bent over my bag putting my u-lock away and a large man in a cowboy hat with a booming voice said, "Looks like the red light district."  Now, I've absolutely never heard that before directed at myself and had to think for a minute as I looked up to verify his words were aimed my way.  He was smiling through his over-sized 'stache and that's when it clicked: I had my two red blinking tail lights on since it's a rather dark morning and he thought he was clever.  I responded with a smile and a chuckle.  Thanks cowboy for a good laugh to start my pedal Downtown.

I wound my way through the Morton Meadows/Field Club area and hooked up with Woolworth and continued on my normal route towards Leavenworth via Park Ave.  I did notice a few crazy deep circular pot holes (but to perfectly round to be natural) on Leavenworth just after the interestate bridge.  Beware!

Vern back in action!  Boy I missed this bike.

I've recently absconded with Vince's Mission Workshop Vandal bag and am blown away by its carrying capacity!! 

Yesterday I rode down to The Grey Plume to pick up our first order of 5 1# bags of delicious whole bean.  I tossed those in on top of apparently 33 pounds of other stuff including a bunch of beers we picked up in MPLS that you can't get here, my laptop, notebooks, U-lock, and more.  I put the bag on the shop scale when I got here just to see where it was at (and to make myself feel tough) and it didn't surprise me to find that it said 38.00 pounds.  I'm impressed with the fact that the bag still rode well when it was that heavy.  Also, there was still room to spare!  I don't think I could have (happily) carried much more weight, but it sure could've.
Here's the loot that I hauled down.  Mmmmm, beer and coffee on a bike.  Life's good, don't you think?!

Snow's apparently in the forecast for this weekend but I'm not scrrrred. Who else has chilly riding plans the next few days? 

If you're a commuter and you're out and about Downtown, plllllease swing by the shop and check out a huge city map that was dropped off by our City Bike/Ped Coordinator, Carlos, for us to draw all over!  We want to know where you ride, where you think more lanes &/or sharrows should be, good routes, scary areas, places where lights don't have good sensors for bikes, etc.  Please come on down and let your voice be heard!  I'm on the Transportation Master Plan Stakeholder Committee and am bringing this map with feedback back to our meetings.  Let us know what will make pedaling in and around Omaha easier for you!!!

Over and out.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Slacking on Posts...But at Least I'm Pedaling

Geez, I've been having major blog-neglect guilt.   Maybe it is because I'm still playing catch up from my time in California. Sigh.  Beautiful, sunny, warm, glorious, multi-modal transportable California.

But alas, we're in the depths of winter and negative 26 degree wind chill advisories.  Home sweet home.  After I unpacked, washed, and buried in my closet my summer riding kits, I pulled back out my fleece balaclava, goggles, thermal tights, wool jerseys, and lobster claws (as well as liner gloves).  Winter riding is fun.  Especially when you can go to balmy climates and beat boys up hill climbs because you've never put away your bike for the 'season'.  I met some cool folks out at SBCU (Specialized Bicycle & Components University) and definitely had my ego stroked as I was (per the usual) the only girl from a bike shop out there riding with a bunch of testosterone driven gear heads.  Fun times, absolutely.

So yeah, back to Omaha.  I have been riding a bunch since I got back.  Yes I rode yesterday, which according to my mother is the coldest day we've encountered this winter.  I believe the low was negative 8 before you factored in the wind chill, which let me assure you, was indeed a factor.  I rode to my monthly Omaha Bikes meeting and then back to my place before pedaling down to the shop for a meeting with our Salsa Cycles reps who were cruising through town.  It was absolutely cold, yes, but the only thing that was actually uncomfortable (until numbness set in, that is) was my finger tips.  I had a pair of fleece liners under my lobsters but still had no feeling by the time I reached the shop.

On my ride down to the shop yesterday I was contemplating the safety (or lack thereof) of my front fender.  I drove my bike inside my car to the shop several days ago install a rear studded tire after nearly wiping out in front of a car the Saturday before I left for CA as I slipped my way up Farnam St. during that night's heavy snow storm. Sooo, my roof rack's skewer was frozen so I removed the front wheel to shove the bike in the back of my wagon and shoot the luck, broke my fender.  I kinda rigged it with zip ties and a bit of electrical tape (Munson, if the fender offer still stands, I'm all in this time!!) and it seemed to be holding.  Then yesterday, with temps sinking far enough to make the e-tape brittle, I was destined for equipment failure.  I was bombing down Leavenworth when I noticed a metal on metal tinking noise and looked down to see the metal strut of the fender hitting my spokes.  Yikes.  Envisioning an endo in the works, I quickly pulled over to see if I could make any modification that would allow me to pedal safely the remainder of my commute.  It was at this point that I noticed the cold had really killed any elasticity of the tape and the zip ties were also cracked.  BRRRRR! I did realize that if I could just kind of push the two parts together it would last til I could re-wrap with tape and ties. Thankfully it worked. Sorta.  I did have to stop 2 more times on the way there to readjust my set up.  It felt good, for mulitple reasons, to finally roll up to the shop. 

I also rode today to the Transportation Master Plan Stakeholder Committee Meeting and am glad I did.  Only 2 others (Scott Redd being one of them) braved the temps this evening and rode down.  Good for you guys.

Who else is riding?  And how is it going?  I think this weekend is supposed to be awesome weather-wise.  There will be a 10am Ladies' Ride leaving Greenstreet Cycles this Saturday.  And then on Sunday, I got talked into racing in Panama, NE in an adventure race put together by Angry Cow Adventures.  Wish me luck!!  I'm sure I'll have a fun story or two from this weekend. 

Pics from random rides and ski adventures will follow shortly!  Sorry it's been so long!!